Article by Les Deutsch
This beautiful Malawi cichlid has been called Haplochromis Electric Blue, Sciaenochromis Ahli and currently Sciaenochromis Freyari in the trade. There are several color morphs of this species that is quite well distributed throughout the lake. Adults can reach eight inches in length but six inches is much more common. In nature they tend to be rather shy and feed by hiding out in rock formations and feasting on unsuspecting fry.
Though this fish is relatively non aggressive for a Malawi cichlid, care should be taken not to house it with smaller fish in the home aquarium. They are carnivores and the aquarium diet should reflect this with feedings of krill, shrimp, or even small fish. They can easily be trained to feed on pellets and flakes. Suitable tanks mates can consist of similarly sized cichlids and for the true cichlidophile, certainly cichlids of Lake Malawi. The majority of the these fish are captive bred and to not have water condition needs of wild caught species. They will breed in somewhat hard water with a pH of over 8.2. They are unique mouthbrooders in the female fertilizes the eggs in her mouth as opposed to externally. Once the fry are spit, she pays no attention to them and will not allow them to return to the safety of her mouth. They can be housed with plants as they tend not to bother with them at all. This fish makes a stunning addition to any home aquarium at a reasonable price. Several females may be kept with one male and they are easily sexed as soon as they reach around two and a half inches. The females remain a dull color while the males will develop an iridescent blue and will grow about a third larger than the females.